Boxing needs many things. It needs promoters, managers, trainers and of course boxers. Big names, big winners, big earners. Boxers whose ring walks are accompanied by flashing lights and a cacophony of ear-splitting music and on whom the sport showers praise and awards.

There is another group that boxing cannot function without. One over-shadowed and often over-looked, mere bit players like extras in a mega movie with a part to play. A part without fanfares, riches, or award just pain and sometimes derision. Boxing needs losers.

Losers come in all shapes, sizes, and types. Some will be former top line boxers on the slide, some will be of limited ability who might have a 30/70 record, and some will be out and out losers who should really try another profession and probably would if they could.

Promoters need losers to build their future attractions, but they need to find a balance. They want their man to win. Ideally, they want him to have fights that allow him to grow as a boxer but winning is the main thrust. They want an opponent who will not threaten the precious “0” in their boxer’s record and if that loser can lose whilst entertaining, and give his man a few rounds of work, that’s a bonus.

Right now, based in Spain there are a group of Nicaraguan boxers who get regular work in Britain and elsewhere in Europe. Their attraction, apart from not being expensive, is that they have enough ability to go the distance but not to be a threat. Two examples are middleweight Geiboord Omier with a 4-50-1 record (but only 8 inside the distance losses) and Edwin Tellez who has lost 61 of his 79 fights but only six of those losses by KO/TKO.


That’s the “acceptable” face of losers. Unfortunately, there is another category of losers those who are horror stories such as Dominicans Juan Ramon Santos 0-25 (24 losses by KO/TKO), Elias Polanco 0-18 (15 losses by KO/TKO) and Ghanaians Francis Mensah 4-30-1(30 losses by KO/TKO). Even more could be named, showing how there are too many like that in the sport.

If there is one thing that is certain it is that anyone who starts his career with a whole pile of losses will only get worse-or will he?

There has been one loser who has broken that mould, let me introduce you to Mexican Jose Quirino Garcia.

Garcia was born in Ciudad Juarez and lived there all of his life. He was 21 before he decided to make some money as a boxer. He had his first fight across the border in Tucson Arizona in April 1990 and was stopped in four rounds by novice Bobby Gunn. Both weighed inside the light middleweight poundage. Gunn would go on to be stopped inside a round by Enzo Maccarinelli for the WBO cruiser title and lose to Tomasz Adamek in a challenge for the IBF cruiser title.

Back in Ciudad Juarez, Garcia was stopped and then knocked in four rounds by Raul Gonzalez and also lost a four round decision again in Tucson ending his first year as a professional with a 0-4 record with 3 losses by KO/TKO.


Things did not improve in 1991 as he had five fights in the USA and lost them all. Amongst the fighters he lost to that year were Paul Vadden who would win the IBF super welter title and Tim Littles who went on to fight for the IBF and WBA super middleweight titles. The other three fighters who beat him in 1991 were novices with only three fights between them. So Garcia was 0-9 with 4 losses by KO/TKO.

There were four more losses in 1992 with Garcia being used to build the records of future IBO champion Lonnie Beasley and Billy Lewis. He was taking what job he could get as he weighed 154lbs for the Beasley fight and 168lbs when being stopped in 56 seconds by Daniel Perez in what was supposed to be his first ten round fight in September.

It was same again in 1993 a year that began with his second consecutive first round defeat followed by losses to two novices with only five fights between them and a loss to substitute Dominick Carter.

Quirino’s record was now 0-17. It was not just that he had lost 17 fights but in those that had gone the distance he had lost almost every round of every fight. His friends considered him mad for taking beatings for a living.

His first fight in 1994 saw him lose over ten rounds against 28-0-1 Chad Parker and then he was matched in September with Norberto Bueno who had been in with fighters such as Marlon Starling and Darrin Van Horn and had won his last seven fights.


It was in Bueno’s home territory of Mexico City and over the first three rounds it was on its way to becoming loss No 19 in a row for Garcia. From the fourth Bueno started to tire and Garcia sensed the possibility of actually winning a fight and he turned things around and stopped Bueno in the sixth.

In itself that win was hardly the maker of legends, but it was the start of one of the most remarkable career reversals in the history of boxing. Garcia won his next four fight by KO/TKO and then drew with Eduard Gutierrez for the Mexican middleweight title in October 1995. He won the title in December that year with a third-round kayo of former WBC welterweight champion Jorge Vaca.

By the end of 1995 he was on an unbeaten string of seven fights and in 1996 he scored five more wins including inside the distance victories over Gutierrez and Vaca again. In 1997 he outpointed experienced Terrence Alli to win the WBC International title, but the run came to an end when he was stopped on a cut against Rene Herrera which cost him his WBC strap. Garcia protested the decision successfully and was re-instated as champion and knocked Herrera out in four rounds in November 1997.

Garcia had gone from 0-18 to 16-1-1. Remarkable but the best was yet to come. In 1998 Garcia scored five wins then started 1999 with wins over former world champions Meldrick Taylor and Simon Brown. There was bump in the road in the shape of an inside the distance loss to Ghanaian Alfred Ankamah where he lost his WBC International title, but he put that right with a stoppage of Ankamah in 2000.


Also, that year he stopped Buck Smith meaning he had gone from 0-18-0 to 28-2-1 but he dropped a very close decision to David Reid who, in his last fight, had lost on points to Felix Trinidad for the WBA super welterweight title. Reid had won most of the way against Garcia but was gassed by the eighth and floored in the tenth and only just made it to the bell.

He scored another win over a former world champion when he stopped Frankie Randall in 2001 and in 2002 won the Mexican middleweight title by stopping Eduardo Gutierrez again but lost to Steve Roberts for the WBFederation world title and to Julio Garcia with those two having combined records of 49-1-2.

Now in his 30’s and putting on weight the best was over for Garcia. He won the Mexican light heavyweight title but was easily beaten by Australian Danny Green and finally retired in 2009.

His final career record of 40-28-4 would hardly be worth a glance. But that disguises the transformation of a perennial no-hoper, a loser on his way to boxing oblivion with a 0-18 record who turned the tables with a 28-2-1 streak. He possessed wins over four former world champions and stopped the two men who beat him and the one who held him to a draw.

Dean Louis appreciatively indicated to me that there was no secret formula for Garcia’s sudden reversal of his fortunes, no Popeye’s spinach, or Superman’s telephone box. At 5’11” Garcia was big and strong for his division and perhaps all he needed was to get one single win to give him the self-belief that took him on his amazing run.

Once a loser-always a loser-no way!



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